10:00 Saturday 08 December 2012

Town hall extension may face bulldozers

Written byHELEN KREFT

PART of Burton Town Hall could be bulldozed to make way for ‘attractive green space’ if plans to sell it fall through.

Burton Town Hall extension
Burton Town Hall extension

Other proposals include converting the 1930s annex, empty since East Staffordshire Borough Council staff relocated in June 2011, into flats.

The borough council’s cabinet will meet on Monday to decide whether to put the vacant building on the market for six to eight months.

If this option is agreed, the authority, in the meantime, will use the time to consider any proposal for self development of its asset which could include ‘residential conversion, site demolition and development, and/or green space.’

In an Evaluated Options Report by the council’s asset management, it says the annex is in a ‘tired’ condition, in need of approximately £750,000 worth of improvements.

The report adds that if the building remains unused, the council will incur ongoing costs causing a ‘financial burden’.

It has also been revealed that Trent and Dove Housing were pursuing an option to buy the annex for flat conversions, and Staffordshire County Council had also expressed an interest in housing staff from its Adult Social Care and Families but both options fell through.

The borough council is now proposing two options for the site. The first, which is being recommended, is to sell the building itself and then the car park. The council would then lease back the car park to cater for the civic function suite.

The report says: "This may be a more attractive opportunity for more developers, offering increased potential to sell the property. This marketing would need to take place for six to eight months to gauge market interest.

"This time will allow for us to consider any proposals for potential self development. For example, residential conversion, site demolition and development, and/or green space.”

The council considers the advantages of this option include a significant capital receipt, as well as the removal of necessary maintenance spend, and ‘attractive space if the site is demolished and redesigned to incorporate green space’.

However, it admits that this would be the loss of an owned asset on the asset register and that selling in the current market may not obtain the best price possible for the site.

The report concludes: “If after six to eight months of marketing no interest is received (there would be) further investigation into the potential demolition of the site. However, this will only be an option due to an unsuccessful marketing campaign.”

The council’s second option is to do nothing but said it would still face ongoing maintenance issues, as well as the prominence of a large, empty building on a major gateway into Burton.

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